I did not know much about Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo before it popped up in the Xbox Storefront upon its release. I mean, I had heard of the movie, and I might have even watched it once a long time ago. Hell, I suffer from Transitory Vertigo from time to time. All that said, I did not have much to go on in regards to playing the game, until I noticed it was developed by Pendulo Studios. They are a long standing, adventure game developer and I love pretty much all of their games. With that in hand, I jumped in, bought, played and finished Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo and was surprised at how much I enjoyed the game.
Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo puts us in the shoes of Ed Miller, a writer that has been confined to a bed with a severe case of Vertigo. He was in a car wreck and wants to know what happened to his girlfriend and child, that were in the car at the time of the crash. However, there is no clue that either of these people exists, and many are looking at him as the prime suspect in the crash, and a possible murder that was connected to him as well.
While the name of the game would make you think that this is a title based on the Vertigo movie of the same name, but it is a very loose basis from what I remember of the movie with Jimmy Stewart. It seems to pull from a few sources, along with an original narrative created by Pendulo Studios for the game. Even with the loose basis around the original source material, I did like how they paid homage to specific camera shots from the game, including the ones surrounding the perception of Ed’s vertigo symptoms.
A fair chunk of the game is played from the perspective of looking into Ed’s repressed memories. The therapist he hired, Julia, takes you into these memories, and from there, you tried to find the clues that unlock the way the memory actually happened vs. how Ed thinks it happened. As we delve into these memories, we start to see a pattern of someone that has re-imagined their entire life to make things more palatable. Gone is a fun loving childhood and in its place is something downright depressing.
I did like the memory sequences, and the game keeps things fresh by switching up the characters that you play through Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo. Sometimes, you play directly as the therapist, Julia Lomas, or as the old school sheriff looking to arrest Ed, Nick Reyes. I did like the moments in-between the memories, as it gave you some more backstory on what happened with Ed and if he is telling the truth or making it all up.
The downside here is that the controls on the Xbox version are a little janky at times, and collision detection and world geometry sometimes caused fits. Also, there are a handful of quick time events that did not seem to fit into the game’s style and I never seemed ready for them when they would pop up out of nowhere.
Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo does deliver some nice twists and turns towards the end of its narrative and really sells the entire thing as you progress through the story. That said, one of the points that happens near the end of the game, seemed corny, and stuffed in as a long running joke against one of the characters.
While it is not the best Pendulo developed titles (please remaster the Runaway series people), Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo does deliver a quality narrative, sharp puzzles and a rather satisfying conclusion that left me really surprised. Using a famous name, but not the source material could have gone horribly wrong, but it worked for this game. The narrative is solid, and there are enough call back shots to give it the feel of the Vertigo movie. I would recommend it to all that are looking for a solid adventure game.